The Witcher Adventure Game from Fantasy Flight and CD Projekt Red invites players into the rich, daring worlds of Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Witcher. Originally a short story that won third place in a magazine contest, the world of The Witcher has expanded to a whole series of novels, film, television, and video games. In addition to the vivid excitement of hunters tracking wicked monsters and punchy jokes, much of the draw of The Witcher is its high fantasy world-building. Through The Witcher Adventure Game, players don the roles of adventurers battling the forces of darkness.
Seeing the victory points scale circling the board, players at first glance might take The Witcher Adventure Game to be a Euro-style game. While winning the game is dependent upon gaining points, the real heart and soul of the game is in the story. Players may be well-connected Dwarf Yarpen Zigrin, clever bard Dandelion, sorceress Triss Merigold, or of course the hunter Geralt of Rivia. Players draw quests, whether in combat, magic, or diplomacy.
The diversity of mechanics in The Witcher Adventure Game gives it wide appeal for different kinds of players. Munchkins who want to tear through monsters will enjoy the extra dice of Geralt’s warrior class. Players who want to delve into magic and gradually build up their power into an unstoppable force will find all they want in Triss. Gold-greedy players will like Dandelion, while Yarpen is perfect for those wishing to lead a band of able allies.
Just like the playable characters, the gameplay in The Witcher Adventure Game is diverse. Players gain victory points through completing quests, which may be to travel to a series of destinations, slay a monster, purchase an item, unravel a mystery, or more. Quests come with side-adventures for smaller amounts of victory points, and there are even Support Quests that a player may complete off someone else’s card for points. Cooperation is incentivized through trading, but, in the end, the winner is the one who is cunning enough to collect the most victory points.
Although there is a great deal going on in the game, its learning curve is not terribly steep, and a handy reference guide explains any terms. Perhaps the best element of its elaborate gameplay is the unique damage system, in which injured characters are stripped of action-choices for their rounds, earning them back through drawing Foul Fate cards that may bring doom. This brings about teeth-grinding tension to players each round, who must choose to draw or carry on damage that may be slowing them down while others collect their victory points.
Fantasy Flight is well known for its production value, and The Witcher Adventure Game is certainly one of its most eye-pleasing endeavors. The art is phenomenal, and players will enjoy simply flipping through the cards. In addition to the art, each quest, character, and event card comes with flavor text that reflects Sapkowski’s knack for epic writing (with quite a few sly jokes).
The Witcher Adventure Game is a role-playing board game for two to four players aged 16 and up. As an epic game, it will last a couple of hours, making it a good centerpiece for a game night. Fans of The Witcher will especially love diving into Sapkowski’s world, but one need not be an expert in the world to enjoy the game. Enthusiasts of fantasy of any kind will love immersing themselves in the world of The Witcher and competing to be the greatest hero.